Softball Blogging, sort of

The Maximum Leader recently posted about his new found admiration for collegiate fast-pitch softball. I often agree with the Maximum Leader and this time is no exception. My admiration for the sport however evolved somewhat differently.

The first year my wife and I were dating her middle sister was pitching for one of the local Babe Ruth teams; this was my first exposure to the world of women's fast pitch softball and for the most part competitive women's athletics.

I remember being impressed with the speed and accuracy her sister had while hurling one pitch after another, sitting down batter after batter, inning after inning. Those were the early days of fast pitch softball in our area and her dominating pitching lead to rules being created in the local Babe Ruth League limiting the number of inning the girls could pitch to give the opposing teams a chance.

Once she aged out of Babe Ruth and traveling softball after her freshman year in College I took a short break in attending games with any frequency. During that break I feel even more in love with my wife and we got engaged. During that time I also began to view her sisters as my own, for the first time I was able to experience the joys of life with sisters. (As a side note there are times I'm sure they haven't forgiven her for that.)

Then along came the baby sister's softball career. When she started her freshman year in high school my wife, then fiancée, had volunteered to help coach her volleyball and softball teams. Thus my attendance picked up once again. My admiration for women's athletics began to grow once again. That year my wife helped her baby sister hone her athletic skills, she often starting as a freshman on varsity squads and on more than she more she outperformed young women her upperclassmen. During her the summer of her freshman year my wife and I were married and we started traveling more and more to watch the baby sister softball, it seemed she was destined for follow in her older sister's foot steps and become a dominating pitcher.

Prior to the baby sister's sophomore year the middle sister took over coaching and as the wife took a job at one of the local middle schools. During that year my two sisters, the older teaching and coaching the younger, began laid the foundation for a dynasty. They started in volleyball and carried over to softball. They dominated the other area teams for the next three years with runs into the state playoffs each year; and each getting closer and closer to the state championship in both sports. My wife lead her teams (volleyball and softball) to undefeated seasons in both sports for the next two years.

My baby sister's senior year saw them go further in softball than any team had from their school. They found themselves playing in Raleigh for the regional and state softball championships one hot June weekend in 2004. They won their first game and the regional championship. The next game found them facing the returning champions from 2003; they lost that game 2 - 1. In the losers bracket they fought back to win their next game in extra innings and faced the state champions again, this time for the state championship. It turned out however it was not yet their time and they lost the game 1 - 0. All things considered however it wasn't a bad run for the two sisters. They had combined for a Conference record of 30 - 0, three conference championships, one regional championship and a state runner up title during the three years they were teamed up.

This past year brought even more changes. My wife and I were elated when the baby sister accepted our offer to live with us while she attends college. The wife completed her first season as women's basketball coach for one of the local community colleges. She finished the season out with a winning record overall, second in the conference and second in the conference tournament. A record that is fairly impressive considering it was her first year coaching and the first year the college had women's basketball program.

The baby sister was offered and accepted an athletic scholarship to play softball at one the local community colleges. Her domination from the mound lead to her to be voted onto the All Tournament and All Conference Teams as well as being chosen the Region's Most Valuable Player Title.

The middle sister, with unfinished business from last year, coached her softball team back to state championships and finished what she started. She brought home her first state championship and finished out her first four years with a record of 39 - 1 in conference play, an impressive run to say the least.

To say I have learned to appreciate women's sports would be an understatement. The past several years I have watched my wife and sisters grow as people and I appreciate them letting me be a part of the game. I have been able to travel throughout North, South Carolina and Virginia watching my baby sister grow from a girl who was unsure of herself and her athletic abilities into one of the most dominating pitchers and beautiful young women on the east coast. I've watched my middle sister, who is often quiet and reserved to a fault take a commanding presence on the softball field and volleyball court that any professional coach would envy. I've watched my wife worry that she was doing the right thing by the girls as she surpassed the expectations of almost everyone around her, I for one never doubted her abilities. (If you're wondering why I didn't comment regarding my wife and middle sister's looks they were already gorgeous when I met them.)

Since I grew up in a household laden with testosterone, I have two brothers and no sisters; I was never truly exposed to women's athletics. To say a whole new world has opened up to me would be an understatement. I often find myself in awe of women athletes, not just because many of them are hot, but because they truly understand what the game is about. Women simply have a better understand of sport.

As The Maximum Leader said: "Frankly, all these women seem to have their mind in the moment of the game to a degree you don't often see with many men players. Male professionals at any rate." I couldn't have said it better myself.

If you're even the slightest bit of a sports fan and haven't been following women's sports I would urge you to attend a couple of games. I'd be willing to bet you'll find the experience almost as rewarding as I have, not quite, but almost.

Posted by phineas g. at 09:00 AM on June 08, 2005

very well said! I am sure the wife and sisters appreciate your heartfelt support of their endeavors.

Posted by: Oddybobo at June 8, 2005 09:29 AM

I hope your wife and her sisters know how blessed they are to have a fan in you.

; )

Posted by: Chrissy at June 8, 2005 11:00 AM

Thanks for the shout-out. And thanks for a very good expostition on a great topic.

Posted by: The Maximum Leader at June 8, 2005 02:17 PM

Your post was rather timely for me, because 2 weeks ago, I was able to see my first high school championship softball game, which my niece played in.
It was the first time I've ever seen her play,and I came away impressed with the talent and the level of dedication that these girls put into their game. By the end of the second game (they won the first and lost the second round) I was hooked.
Their talent was just incredible to see. These girls practice year round, not just during the highschool season.
Your wife and sisters sound like amazing women. Congrats!

Posted by: Laura at June 8, 2005 02:21 PM